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1. Executive summary

1.1 Introduction

The New Zealand Government is committed to playing its part in the global response to climate change. This Fifth National Communication provides a snapshot of New Zealand’s progress with implementing the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC or the Convention). It covers the period from the submission of the Fourth National Communication in 2006 through to the end of December 2009. This document also contains New Zealand’s Report on the Global Climate Observing System.

1.2 National circumstances

New Zealand consists of two large islands and a number of smaller islands located in the southwest Pacific Ocean between 33° and 55° south latitude. The land area is approximately 27 million hectares, making it similar in size to Japan or the United Kingdom. The land cover is dominated by forest and pastoral land with indigenous forests occupying 6.3 million hectares, planted forest 1.8 million hectares and pastoral land 9 million hectares. Five million hectares of land are protected in parks and reserves.

New Zealand’s population in the 2006 census was 4.2 million people. The estimated resident population in December 2009 was 4.3 million people.1 Population growth between 1990 and 2007 was 25 per cent, the second highest of Annex 1 countries.

New Zealand’s government is a parliamentary democracy with an elected House of Representatives. Representation is through a single-house, mixed-member proportional system (MMP). The principal functions of Parliament are to enact laws, scrutinise the Government’s administration, and approve the Government’s allocation of tax income. New Zealand has 85 local authorities that provide government for local and regional interests.

The New Zealand economy has sizeable manufacturing and services sectors complementing a highly efficient export-oriented agricultural sector. The primary sector contributes 7 per cent of New Zealand’s gross domestic product. Energy-based industries (including dairy processing, and cement and steel manufacturing), forestry, mining, horticulture and tourism have expanded rapidly over the past two decades.

New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions profile is different from that of many other countries in that nearly 50 per cent of its greenhouse gas emissions are from agriculture. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture is a challenge, because many agricultural activities have a direct relationship between output and greenhouse gas emissions. New Zealand scientists are undertaking world-leading research to develop technologies and management practices that reduce methane emissions from ruminant livestock; however, identifying solutions that achieve reductions in a safe manner, meet all regulatory requirements and are adopted by industry remains a significant challenge.

New Zealand has notably low emissions from thermal electricity production compared to other countries. In the year to June 2009 renewable energy from hydro-electric, geothermal and biomass sources, and combined heat and power generation comprised 71 per cent of New Zealand’s electricity supply. Around 79 per cent of renewable generation is hydro-electric with limited storage potential which makes it susceptible to dry periods. Recent increases in geothermal and wind generation capacity have resulted in geothermal generation increasing to nearly 11 per cent of total generation for the year to June 2009 and wind generation contributing nearly 3 per cent.2

1.3 Greenhouse gas inventory

The Climate Change Response Act 2002 (updated 26 September 2008) was enacted to enable New Zealand to meet its international obligations under the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol. A prime ministerial directive for the administration of the Climate Change Response Act names the Ministry for the Environment as New Zealand’s “inventory agency”.

The Ministry for the Environment is responsible for the overall development, compilation and submission of the inventory to the Convention secretariat. The inventory is compiled using data and expertise from the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Ministry for the Environment, and Statistics New Zealand. Methods and emission factors relating to agriculture are underpinned by the research and modelling of researchers at New Zealand’s Crown research institutes and universities.

National overview

In April 2009, New Zealand submitted its national greenhouse gas inventory for 1990 through 2007. In 1990, New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions were 61,852.8 gigagrams of carbon dioxide equivalent (Gg CO2-e). By 2007, total greenhouse gas emissions had increased by 13,697.4 Gg CO2-e (22 per cent) to 75,550.2 Gg CO2-e. Between 1990 and 2007 the average annual growth in total emissions was 1.3 per cent per year (see figure 1.1).

Net removals from the Land use, Land-use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector increased from 18,138.5 Gg CO2-e in 1990 to 23,836.0 Gg CO2-e in 2007. The 2009 inventory submission included a provisional estimate of 10,000 hectares of deforestation in 2007. Updated information indicates the area of deforestation in 2007 was in the range of 15,000 to 20,000 hectares. A provisional calculation using the updated information indicates that LULUCF net removals are therefore in the vicinity of 19,000 to 21,000 Gg CO2-e. The recalculation for the updated area will be included in New Zealand’s inventory submission in 2010.

Figure 1.1: New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions and net removals, 1990–2007

Figure 1.1: New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions and net removals, 1990–2007

New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions and net removals, 1990–2007 (Gg CO2-e)
  Total emissions (excluding LULUCF) LULUCF net removals
1990 61852.8 -18138.5
1991 62036.4 -17271.4
1992 63219.6 -15145.9
1993 62953.0 -14907.0
1994 64117.1 -15895.5
1995 64466.5 -15892.6
1996 66030.3 -16652.0
1997 68885.5 -18620.4
1998 66970.2 -18859.3
1999 68616.3 -19143.3
2000 70597.7 -19971.5
2001 73115.8 -20358.2
2002 73452.4 -20033.3
2003 76005.1 -21230.0
2004 75054.0 -24853.6
2005 77174.7 -25273.7
2006 77599.1 -23877.3
2007 75550.2 -23836.0

Emissions by sector

The agricultural sector is the largest source of emissions, contributing 36,430.0 Gg CO2-e (48 per cent) of total emissions in 2007. New Zealand’s agricultural emissions have increased by 3918.9 Gg CO2-e (12 per cent) from the 1990 level of 32,511.1 Gg CO2-e. The agricultural sector contributed 96 per cent of New Zealand’s total nitrous oxide emissions and 91 per cent of total methane emissions in 2007.

The energy sector contributed 32,653.1 Gg CO2-e (43 per cent) of total emissions in 2007, an increase of 9200.3 Gg CO2-e (39 per cent) from the 1990 level of 23,452.8 Gg CO2-e. This growth in emissions was primarily from electricity generation and heat production (91 per cent increase), and road transport (76 per cent increase).

The industrial processes sector accounted for 4601.9 Gg CO2-e (6 per cent) of total emissions in 2007, an increase of 1192.7 Gg (35 per cent) from the 1990 level of 3409.2 Gg CO2-e. This increase was mainly due to growth in emissions from metal production and to the consumption of hydrofluorocarbons. In 2007, the solvent and other product use sector contributed 43.4 Gg CO2-e (less than 1 per cent) of New Zealand’s total emissions.

The waste sector accounted for 1821.8 Gg CO2-e (2 per cent) of total emissions in 2007, a decrease of 616.4 Gg (25 per cent) from the 1990 level of 2438.2 Gg CO2-e. This decrease was the result of initiatives to improve solid waste management practices in New Zealand.

In the LULUCF sector, net removals were estimated at 23,836.0 Gg CO2-e in 2007, an increase of 5697.5 Gg CO2-e (31 per cent) from the 1990 level of 18,138.5 Gg CO2-e. LULUCF removals fluctuate with the routine planting and harvesting of New Zealand’s planted forest.

1.4 Policies and measures

New Zealand initiated its response to climate change in 1988 with the establishment of the New Zealand Climate Change Programme, coordinated by the Ministry for the Environment. The programme has steadily evolved and now spans several government departments and agencies. A group comprised of government chief executives (the Natural Resources Sector Group) provides governance for the coordination of policy on environmental issues, including climate change. The history of New Zealand’s climate change response until 2006 is documented in New Zealand’s Fourth National Communication.3

The Government has recently undertaken a comprehensive review of climate change policies, in particular the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS). The aim of the review was to ensure New Zealand’s response to climate change is appropriate given New Zealand’s national circumstances. The Government also announced emissions reduction targets for 2020 and 2050.

Key targets

The Government has set two national targets for reducing New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions.

  • A medium-term responsibility target of a 10 to 20 per cent reduction in emissions below 1990 levels by 2020.
  • A long-term target of a 50 per cent reduction in net greenhouse gases from 1990 levels by 2050.

The medium-term target range reflects a fair contribution by New Zealand to the international effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is because New Zealand’s national circumstances (including already high levels of renewable electricity generation and a large proportion of emissions from agriculture) make the cost of mitigation higher than for most other developed countries. The decision on the target range was made after considering efforts pledged by other Annex 1 countries, environmental, social and economic factors, international relations aspects, and the results of public consultation.

A ‘responsibility target’ means it is expected New Zealand will meet its target through a mixture of domestic emission reductions, the storage of carbon in forests, and the purchase of emission reduction units in other countries. The 2020 target is conditional on the level of global ambition agreed to at international negotiations and on international rules relating to land use, land-use change and forestry, and recourse to carbon markets for compliance.

The New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme

The Government’s principal policy response to climate change is the NZ ETS. Legislation implementing the NZ ETS was passed in September 2008, and the first sector (forestry) entered the scheme retrospectively on 1 January 2008. In November 2009, the Government passed legislation modifying the NZ ETS. The purpose of the modifications was to ease the effect of the scheme on the economy, particularly in the transition period as the scheme takes effect. Under the scheme, participants (aside from forestry) will have to surrender one emission unit to the Government for every two tonnes of greenhouse gas they emit until 2013. This obligation will rise to one emission unit for each one tonne of emissions from 2013. By 2015, the NZ ETS will cover all sectors and all gases. Trade-exposed industries will receive an allocation of free emission units that will phase down over time. The NZ ETS will be reviewed every five years, with the first review to be carried out in 2011.

Energy policies and measures

The Government’s policy direction and priorities on energy will be described in the New Zealand Energy Strategy. The Strategy is being updated in 2009 and 2010. The Government has a target that 90 per cent of electricity will be generated from renewable sources by 2025. Energy efficiency is also a priority, and the New Zealand Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy sits under the New Zealand Energy Strategy. The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy provides more detail on measures to increase the uptake of energy efficiency, energy conservation and renewable energy programmes across the economy. The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy is also being updated during 2009 and 2010.

Transport policies and measures

The New Zealand Transport Strategy outlines the Government’s vision for the transport system to 2040, along with the strategic approach taken to achieve this vision. This strategy also provides a framework for the transport activities of Crown entities and guidance for local authorities.

The Government’s primary policy to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector is to include liquid fossil fuels in the NZ ETS. Liquid fossil fuels will enter the NZ ETS on 1 July 2010. Other transitional incentives and research are underway to complement the scheme in the areas of new fuels and technology, improved efficiency of commercial fleets and encouraging forms of transport that are less carbon intensive. The Ministry of Transport is responsible for the development of transport policy in New Zealand.

Industry policies and measures

Industrial processes will enter the NZ ETS in July 2010 and will be required to surrender one emission unit for every two tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions until 2013. From 2013, the sector will be required to surrender one unit for each tonne of emissions. The synthetic gases perfluorocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride will be included in the scheme from 2013.

Agriculture policies and measures

At present there are limited methods for reducing nitrous oxide emissions from agricultural pastures, and no practical methods for mitigating methane from enteric fermentation in ruminants grazed on pastures. To help address New Zealand’s emissions from these sources, the Government is establishing a domestic Centre for Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research. This builds on existing efforts through the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium and the Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change Plan of Action. Funding will be provided through the Primary Growth Partnership.

In September 2009, the New Zealand Prime Minister announced a proposal to establish a Global Alliance on agricultural greenhouse gas mitigation research. The initiative would bring interested countries together to drive greater international cooperation, collaboration and investment in this area of research. In this way, the Global Alliance aims to help reduce emissions from agricultural production and improve its potential for soil carbon sequestration, while safeguarding food security.

Forestry policies and measures

The NZ ETS is the main policy instrument to encourage afforestation and reduce deforestation. In addition to the NZ ETS, New Zealand has three major schemes that promote afforestation and provide incentives to maintain forests: the East Coast Forestry Project, the Afforestation Grant Scheme, and the Permanent Forest Sinks Initiative.

In 2007, New Zealand had 1.8 million hectares of plantation forest and 8.2 million hectares of native forest. Commercial timber harvested from private native forest was restricted to that sourced under sustainable forest management plans and permits by a 1993 amendment to the Forests Act 1949. Only a few areas were exempt from the Act. Amendments in March 2002 resulted in the cessation of any logging of native forest on public land. Less than 0.1 per cent of New Zealand’s total forest production is now harvested from native forests. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) is responsible for developing forestry-related policy.

Waste policies and measures

The New Zealand Waste Strategy (2002) set in place a framework for minimising and managing waste, and included targets for reducing waste. The major piece of legislation that governs waste management in New Zealand is the Waste Minimisation Act 2008. The Ministry for the Environment is responsible for developing waste policy in New Zealand alongside local and regional councils.

1.5 Projections and the total effect of policies and measures

Under a “with measures” scenario, New Zealand’s total emissions (excluding net removals from the forestry sector) are projected to rise to 76,085.3 Gg CO2-e equivalent by 2010 and 76,895.7 Gg CO2-e by 2020. These projections equate to an increase in emissions from 1990 of 15,178.5 Gg CO2-e (25 per cent) in 2010 and 15,988.9 Gg CO2-e (26 per cent) in 2020.

New Zealand’s net emissions (including removals from the forestry sector) are projected to rise to 78,822.6 Gg CO2-e by 2020 (90 per cent above net emissions in 1990). In 2010, net removals from forestry are projected to be approximately 20,084.0 Gg of CO2-e. However, by 2020 forestry is expected to become a net source of emissions as relatively large areas of production forests planted in the 1990s are harvested (see figure 1.2). Net emissions from forestry in 2020 are projected to be 1,926.9 Gg of CO2-e.

Projections of emissions and removals are inherently uncertain. Economic variables such as commodity and oil prices, the assumed carbon price, the assumed rate of afforestation and deforestation, and the harvest age of forests have significant effects on projected emissions and removals. For example, the “with measures” projection assumes a carbon price of NZ$25/tonne CO2-e, rising to $50/tonne from 2013, and afforestation increasing from 3500 hectares in 2009, to 30,000 hectares of planting by 2020. If the carbon price rose to NZ$100/tonne CO2-e, and afforestation increased to 50,000 hectares of planting per year, New Zealand’s total net emissions are projected to be 68,471.0 Gg CO2-e in 2020 (64 per cent above net emissions in 1990).

New Zealand produces an annual projection of progress towards meeting its commitment under Article 3.1 of the Kyoto Protocol. This projection report is available here. The latest report produced in April 2009, projected that New Zealand will have a surplus of 9.6 million units over the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

Figure 1.2: New Zealand’s actual and projected total greenhouse gas emissions, “with measures”, 1990–2007

Figure 1.2: New Zealand’s actual and projected total greenhouse gas emissions, “with measures”, 1990–2007

New Zealand’s actual and projected total greenhouse gas emissions, “with measures”, 1990–2007 (Gg CO2-e)
  Total emissions (including forestry) Total emissions (excluding forestry)
1990 41718.4 60906.8
1991 44322.4 61170.4
1992 46760.2 62755.2
1993 44504.5 62422.4
1994 46766.5 63546.3
1995 47220.9 63906.6
1996 46231.3 65321.5
1997 49226.9 67972.9
1998 44836.7 65717.2
1999 45698.8 67815.7
2000 46952.8 69473.7
2001 48910.9 72032.6
2002 53325.0 72489.5
2003 50054.2 75112.0
2004 49501.4 74217.1
2005 52452.5 76484.4
2006 52308.9 76758.0
2007 56878.3 75363.3
2008 53203.9 76688.3
2009 53082.7 75341.3
2010 56001.3 76085.3
2011 58311.2 75832.3
2012 61996.4 76367.9
2013 66394.9 76833.7
2014 70376.5 76596.2
2015 75912.0 77282.6
2016 77859.6 77273.8
2017 79603.1 77745.3
2018 80320.6 77613.7
2019 80643.7 77983.7
2020 78822.6 76895.7

Projections of emissions “without measures” show the effect of New Zealand’s policies and measures. Total emissions (excluding forestry) “without measures” are projected to be 85,828.9 Gg CO2-e in 2020, 11.6 per cent higher (8,933.3 Gg) than projected emissions “with measures” (figure 1.3) Total emissions including forestry “without measures” are projected to be 91,137.5 Gg CO2-e in 2020, 15.6 per cent higher (12,314.9 Gg) than projected emissions “with measures” (figure 1.4).

Figure 1.3: Actual and projected total emissions, with measures versus without measures, 1990–2020

Figure 1.3: Actual and projected total emissions, with measures versus without measures, 1990–2020

Actual and projected total emissions, with measures versus without measures, 1990–2020 (Gg CO2-e)
  Actual emissions Projected "without measures" Projected "with measures"
1990 60906.8    
1991 61170.4    
1992 62755.2    
1993 62422.4    
1994 63546.3    
1995 63906.6    
1996 65321.5    
1997 67972.9    
1998 65717.2    
1999 67815.7    
2000 69473.7    
2001 72032.6    
2002 72489.5    
2003 75112.0    
2004 74217.1    
2005 76484.4    
2006 76758.0    
2007 75363.3 75363.3 75363.3
2008   77252.1 76688.3
2009   76084.1 75341.3
2010   76798.6 76085.3
2011   77041.5 75832.3
2012   77418.7 76367.9
2013   78407.8 76833.7
2014   79429.8 76596.2
2015   80911.2 77282.6
2016   81573.8 77273.8
2017   81986.8 77745.3
2018   83629.1 77613.7
2019   84533.4 77983.7
2020   85828.9 76895.7

Figure 1.4:     Actual and projected net emissions, with measures versus without measures, 1990–2020

Actual and projected net emissions, with measures versus without measures, 1990–2020 (Gg CO2-e)
  Actual emissions Projected "without measures" Projected "with measures"
1990 41718.4    
1991 44322.4    
1992 46760.2    
1993 44504.5    
1994 46766.5    
1995 47220.9    
1996 46231.3    
1997 49226.9    
1998 44836.7    
1999 45698.8    
2000 46952.8    
2001 48910.9    
2002 53325.0    
2003 50054.2    
2004 49501.4    
2005 52452.5    
2006 52308.9    
2007 56878.3 56878.3 56878.3
2008   53767.4 53203.9
2009   55399.4 53082.7
2010   58099.8 56001.3
2011   60738.8 58311.2
2012   64193.3 61996.4
2013   69415.1 66394.9
2014   74723.4 70376.5
2015   81167.6 75912.0
2016   83865.2 77859.6
2017   85909.0 79603.1
2018   88912.0 80320.6
2019   90344.6 80643.7
2020   91137.5 78822.6

Emissions from the energy sector (excluding transport) are projected to rise to 15,946.2 Gg CO2-e by 2020, 6.4 per cent higher than 1990 levels. Emissions from thermal electricity generation are expected to remain relatively constant until 2015, as all new generation is expected to be from geothermal and wind. These renewable forms of generation are considered to be the most economical, with a carbon price expected in the range of NZ$25 to NZ$50 per tonne of CO2-e over the medium term.

Emissions from the transport sector are projected to rise to 15,583.6 Gg CO2-e (78 per cent above 1990 levels) by 2020. Road transport accounts for 91 per cent of New Zealand’s transport emissions, and over 95 per cent of the growth in transport emissions between 1990 and 2007. Transport emissions grew rapidly until 2005 but have slowed since 2006 due to higher crude oil prices and an economic recession in world economies. From 2010, emissions from transport are projected to resume growing, reflecting a recovery in the New Zealand economy.

Emissions from the industrial processes and solvents sectors are projected to rise to 4,572.2 Gg CO2-e by 2020, 32 per cent above 1990 levels. Industrial process CO2 emissions in New Zealand are derived from the manufacture of iron and steel, aluminium, urea, cement, lime and hydrogen. The level of output from these industries is expected to remain steady between 2007 and 2020.

Emissions from the agricultural sector are projected to rise to 39,072.4 Gg CO2-e in 2020, 25 per cent higher than 1990 levels. Agricultural emissions decreased in 2007 due to a New Zealand-wide drought over 2007/08 and falling global dairy prices. However, emissions are expected to increase as the New Zealand and world economies recover.

Emissions from the waste sector are projected to fall to 1,721.3 Gg CO2-e, 29 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020. This reduction is mainly due to the increasing capture and destruction of landfill gas (methane).

1.6 Vulnerability assessment, climate change impacts and adaptation measures

Observed and projected changes in climate

A low population density, a long coastline, varied geomorphology and an economy reliant on the primary production sector make New Zealand particularly vulnerable to climate related risks. Climate change is expected to exacerbate these risks. Information on climate variability and observed changes in the New Zealand climate is contained in the document Climate Change Effects and Impacts Assessment: A Guide for Local Government in New Zealand. The key findings are:

  • in recent decades, the climate has become warmer, even though cooler southerly airflows have dominated. Average temperatures have increased by 0.9oC since 1908
  • the number of frost days has decreased at many sites, although some sites have seen increases or no change
  • extreme 24-hour duration rainfall events increased in the west of the country and decreased in the north and east between 1930 and 2004
  • an increase in heavy rainfall has been observed in western parts of the North and South Islands, while decreases have been observed in eastern regions. This is most likely to be the result of natural decadal variability, although a contribution from climate change cannot be excluded
  • several recent studies have found increases in the number of Southern Hemisphere extra-tropical cyclones of about 50 per cent over the period 1979 to 1999
  • sea level rose at an average of 1.6 millimetres per year during the 20th century.

New Zealand temperatures are expected to be on average 1°C warmer by the period
2030–2049 (referred to as 2040) and 2°C warmer by the period 2080–2099 (referred to as 2090), relative to 1980–1999 (referred to as 1990). The projected average annual rainfall shows a pattern of increases in the west of up to 5 per cent by 2040 and 10 per cent by 2090, and decreases in the east and north exceeding 5 per cent in places by 2090. Updated projections of changes in seasonal mean rainfall show a different and more marked seasonality than in previous projections.


New Zealand’s approach to adaptation policy consists of legislation, guidance material on impacts assessment, case studies, and underpinning information material. Planning to reduce the adverse effects of natural hazards is particularly important at the local government level. Legislation including the Resource Management Act 1991, Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002 and the Local Government Act 2002 establish and support the responsibilities of local authorities for avoiding, minimising, and mitigating the costs and effects of natural hazards and managing natural resources.

The Ministry for the Environment has produced technical manuals and summary reports to help people plan for the effects of climate change:

  • Climate Change Effects and Impacts Assessment: A Guidance Manual for Local Government in New Zealand (2nd edition, May 2008) was produced for New Zealand’s local government and updates the 2004 edition to include the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report. Preparing for Climate Change (July 2008)is the accompanying summary publication
  • Coastal Hazards and Climate Change (July 2008) is a technical guidance manual that provides information on planning for climate change in the coastal margins. This report also includes information from the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report. Preparing for Coastal Change (March 2009) is the accompanying summary publication.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is working with land-based sectors, local government, and Māori to ensure land-based sectors are resilient to climate change. Increasing awareness of climate change among land managers is a priority. Other key priorities are understanding the impacts of climate change on production systems and developing tools for land managers to use to respond to climate risks.

Current research includes the impacts of climate change on pasture, extreme wind, fire, drought and groundwater systems. Work is also underway on sub-tropical boundaries and pest impacts on forests. A series of fact sheets and case studies has been produced. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s adaptation work is supported by research and technology transfer work, as well as actions taken by sectors and land managers.

Other key government workstreams include work in the health, fisheries, biodiversity and transport sectors. Much of the focus in these areas is understanding the potential impacts of climate change. Local government is also an active participant with impacts assessments completed in some areas.

1.7 Financial resources and technology transfer

New Zealand is committed to supporting developing country parties to meet the dual challenges of reducing emissions and adapting to the impacts of climate change. New Zealand is addressing these challenges by delivering new and additional financial resources through a range of channels, primarily to its partner countries in the Pacific, but also to countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

In 2001, New Zealand joined the European Union, Canada, Norway, Switzerland and Iceland in a voluntary commitment to increase financial assistance to developing countries to support climate change action. Between 2005 and 2008, New Zealand’s share of this voluntary commitment has been NZ$5 million per year. This comprises four main components:

  • the proportion of funds from New Zealand’s total annual contribution to the Global Environment Facility that is likely to be spent on climate change projects, which is estimated at 32 per cent of total expenditure between 1991 and 2008.
  • contributions to a range of multilateral organisations and programmes, including special funds under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
  • support for climate change-related assistance administered by the New Zealand Agency for International Development
  • funding for specific projects administered through the New Zealand Ministry for the Environment.

New Zealand continues to support a number of UN development agencies and other international financial institutions and programmes, including those with specific programmes related to the implementation of the Convention. In recognition of the importance of developing countries participating at Convention meetings, New Zealand has made an annual contribution to the UNFCCC Trust Fund for Participation.

New Zealand, through the New Zealand Agency for International Development (NZAID), is a major funder of a number of Pacific regional organisations with mandates to provide Pacific Island countries with technical and policy assistance in a number of sectors, including those affected by climate change.

New Zealand supports climate change adaptation work that is primarily designed to reduce the vulnerability of communities – particularly those in the Pacific – to longer term environmental change and weather-related impacts, and to improve the resilience of key climate-sensitive sectors. National and community-level actions are delivered within the context of national and regional plans, strategies and frameworks, which New Zealand helps to shape and deliver in cooperation with its development partners.

New Zealand considers the creation of “enabling environments” as important for research and development activities, and for the commercial deployment of current, new and innovative technologies. Cooperation with host parties is important in terms of increasing the size of investments and increasing the speed of development and deployment of new technologies.

Two examples of New Zealand’s support for technology transfer initiatives include:

  • a new microfinance project in the Solomon Islands and Kiribati that has successfully implemented a solar lighting finance scheme. The project (funded jointly by New Zealand and the United Kingdom), enables rural communities to trade crops for access to electricity
  • New Zealand established the Livestock Emissions Abatement Research Network (LEARN) in 2007. LEARN is an international research network focused on improving the understanding of greenhouse gas emissions from livestock.

1.8 Research and systematic observations

New Zealand has continued to promote and collaborate in research and systematic observations on climate change, as required by Articles 4 and 5 of the Convention. Central government expenditure on climate change-related research for the 2007/08 financial year is estimated at approximately NZ$55 million, an increase of around NZ$23 million over the amount reported in the Fourth National Communication. This expenditure was complemented by expenditure by regional governments and the private sector.

New Zealand continues to contribute actively to the work of the IPCC. New Zealand supports a representative on the IPCC Bureau and the Bureau of the Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories as well as participating in task groups, workshops, expert meetings and contributing to the IPCC’s Assessment reports.

New Zealand research groups have participated in international research and observation programmes of the World Meteorological Organization; the World Climate Research Programme; the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) and its Pacific component (PI‑GCOS); the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme; and the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research. The Meteorological Service of New Zealand has provided some assistance to a number of Pacific Island nations with their weather and climate observing systems.
Overall responsibility for climate change research strategy rests with the Ministry for the Environment. The Ministry works with other government departments involved in climate change policies and strategic policy development, and liaises closely with New Zealand scientists and science organisations to monitor and review the adequacy of the climate change research portfolio to meet national needs. Additional input to strategic research directions comes from the Royal Society of New Zealand’s Climate Committee.

The Government’s Foundation for Research, Science and Technology is the dominant channel for central government funding of strategic research and has the main responsibility for funding climate change research from public investment. Domestically, the Ministry for the Environment disseminates most research findings on climate change, mitigation options and adaptation processes and methodologies. There is also direct funding of research in some climate change areas by core government departments to meet operational and policy development needs and some research by local government to help develop community or regional policies.

In the agricultural sector, the Government has joined with the private sector to form the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium to jointly fund research into reducing agricultural methane and nitrous oxide emissions. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry funds research and technology transfer on adaptation and mitigation for the primary land-based sectors.

Internationally, New Zealand exchanges data and information with other countries in line with the policies of the World Meteorological Organization to expand an archive of systematic atmospheric, oceanic and terrestrial observations which are based on the monitoring activities described in the First, Second, Third and Fourth National Communications.

New Zealand has initiated the establishment of a multilateral partnership, the Livestock Emissions and Abatement Research Network (LEARN), which brings together scientists to share information and expertise on greenhouse gas emissions from livestock. Building on this network, New Zealand is also seeking to establish a global alliance on agricultural greenhouse gas mitigation research.

New Zealand established a climate change partnership with the United States to enhance dialogue and practical cooperation on climate change issues in 2002. A climate change partnership between New Zealand and Australia was announced in 2003. New Zealand is a member of the International Energy Agency and the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy and has observer status at the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum.

1.9 Education, training and public awareness

An increase in awareness of environmental issues has brought about a stronger demand for information on actions people can take to reduce emissions and prepare for the effects of climate change. The Government has provided information on the science and impacts of climate change and specific actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through a variety of websites and publications. Publications have also been produced explaining specific policy areas including the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme, the Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change Plan of Action, the New Zealand Energy Strategy, and the New Zealand Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy.

Between 2005 and 2008, a number of public awareness campaigns were introduced to improve New Zealanders’ understanding of climate change and inspire people to take individual action. These campaigns were part of the Government’s Towards a Sustainable New Zealand programme. Campaigns have included the Household Sustainability Campaign, the Business Partnerships for Sustainability programme, Govt3 programme and the Enhanced Sustainable Government Procurement project. In June 2008, New Zealand hosted World Environment Day with a theme of “Kick the Carbon habit – working towards a low-carbon economy”.

In July 2009, the Government announced that it wanted to consult with the public as part of setting a mid-term emissions reductions target for New Zealand. The Minister for Climate Change Issues held a series of public meetings around the country at which he discussed the key issues and invited public feedback. Over 1600 people attended these meetings and aired their views about the target. Members of the public also took part in an online forum with the Minister.

2.New Zealand Energy Quarterly: June Quarter 2009.

3.New Zealand’s Fourth National Communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is available here